Little Prayers for Ordinary Days, Katy Bowser Hutson, Flo Paris Oakes, and Tish Harrison Warren, illustrated by Liita Forsyth. Downers Grove: IVP Kids, 2022.
Summary: Twenty-eight prayers, with illustrations, written for children covering the events of the day from getting up to going to bed and all the ordinary and not-so-ordinary things that can happen in a day.
A few years ago, Tish Harrison Warren introduced us, in The Liturgy of the Ordinary to the idea of encountering God and being aware of God’s presence throughout the ordinary events of our days, from getting up, to making our beds, searching for our keys, brushing our teeth, and ending the day. In this children’s book, Warren is joined by Katy Bowser Hutson and Flo Paris Oakes and illustrator Liita Forsyth in a very different looking book that helps children (and parents) develop the same awareness that our days are filled with moments where we may connect with God.
At the beginning, they assure us that:
"God always listens. God always loves you. You can tell God anything."
This is followed by twenty eight “little prayers” of five to thirteen lines, most of which may be read aloud in twenty seconds or less. They cover these topics:
- For waking up
- For looking in a mirror
- For the start of/for the end of a school day
- For reading a book/for listening to music
- For making something/trying something new
- For rest time
- For waiting
- For when I break something/when I have lost something
- For seeing a friend/leaving a friend
- For doing chores
- For when I do what I shouldn’t
- For being outside
- For play time
- For petting an animal/for when I see a bird
- For meal time/for when I have to eat something I don’t like
- For taking a bath/for brushing my teeth
- For an everyday day/a hard day/a really great day
- For when I look at the stars
- For bedtime
Some things I really liked include thanking God for our bodies when we look in the mirror and take baths, for all the things that are wondrous about books, and asking God for help when it is hard to wait, or we do things we know we shouldn’t or have to eat food we don’t like. I need the prayers about losing things and breaking things. Then there are the wonders of a pet’s soft fur and the wonderful variety of birds outside our windows. In brushing our teeth, there is a reminder of all the things we do with our mouths. In the prayer about hard days I love the line “Thank you that I don’t have to pretend that things are okay.” And in our days of school shootings and lockdown drills there is the prayer “And please keep everyone safe all day long.”
Here are sample pages showing the delightful prayers and illustrations from bath time:
What a wonderful way to teach children that God is not just present at church, but in all the ordinary things of our days, even when we are not at our best, or the day has not been. These prayers convey that there is no time or place or occurrence in our days where God is not present. They are prayers that spoke powerfully to me. I am not too old to delight in books or music or stars or the fur of an animal. Even with the effects of age, I still marvel at the gift of my body, especially when I luxuriate in a shower. I still have good and bad day.
What a wonderful gift this is for any young parents! You might want to buy one for them and one for you, particularly if you are a grandparent! There is so much rich theology packed into these little prayers. While you read them in twenty seconds, you will ponder them far longer.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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